On This Day March 8

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1950 – The Volkswagen microbus (also known as the VW Type 2) goes into production, becoming an icon of America’s counter-culture movement as the vehicle of choice for hippies during the 1960s. 

1971 – Boxing titans Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier meet for the “Fight of the Century” before a crowd of more than 20,000 at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The showdown marks Ali’s return to the ring three and a-half years after his boxing license was revoked over his refusal to fight in the Vietnam War. Frazier wins by unanimous decision, retaining his heavyweight champion title and delivering Ali the first loss of his career.

1973 – Terrorists affiliated with the Irish Republican Army (IRA) set off two powerful car bombs in London, killing one person and injuring 243 others. Most of the suspects are arrested trying to leave Heathrow Airport. The blasts cause chaos not seen since World War II.

1983 – Addressing the National Association of Evangelicals convention in Florida, President Ronald Reagan publicly refers to the Soviet Union as an “evil empire” for the second time in his political career.

1993 – MTV airs the first episode of the animated series “Beavis and Butthead,” which goes on to become the network’s highest-rated series up to that point.

1999 – Baseball legend and cultural icon Joe DiMaggio (“The Yankee Clipper”), who devoted his entire 13-year Major League Baseball career as a New York Yankees center fielder, dies at the age of 84.

2014 – Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members, loses contact with air traffic control less than an hour after takeoff from Kuala Lumpur then veers off course and vanishes. Most of the Boeing 777, and everyone on board, are never seen again.

On This Day October 31

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On This Day October 19

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1781 – Hopelessly trapped at Yorktown, Virginia, British General Lord Cornwallis surrenders 8,000 British soldiers and seamen to a larger Franco-American force, effectively bringing an end to the American Revolution. The event is known as the Siege of Yorktown or the Battle of Yorktown.

1960 – The Cold War heats up as the U.S. imposes an embargo on exports to Cuba. The original embargo covers all exports except medicine and some food products. President John F. Kennedy expands the embargo to cover U.S. imports from Cuba, which is made permanent in early 1962.

1970 – In New York City, One World Trade Center welcomes its first tenants, even as construction of the upper floors of the world’s tallest building continues.

1977 – An aviation icon, the supersonic Concorde SST, makes its first landing at New York’s JFK International Airport. The aircraft provides high-speed trans-Atlantic service until a 2003 Air France crash during takeoff from Paris that kills everyone on board.

1982 – Auto executive John DeLorean is arrested for drug trafficking and money laundering after FBI agents nab him with a briefcase containing $24 million worth of cocaine.

1987 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average suffers the largest-ever one-day percentage decline, dropping 508 points (22.6 percent), in what comes to be known as “Black Monday.” It is a bigger collapse than what rocked Wall Street in 1929, right before the Great Depression.

1991 – What begins as a small fire on private property in the hills of Oakland, California grows into an inferno that consumes 2.5 square miles of mostly residential neighborhoods. The Oakland Hills Firestorm kills 25 people and injures 150 others, and destroys nearly 3,500 homes and apartments.

On This Day September 21

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Celebrity Birthdays
Celebrity Birthdays

1866 – Author H. G. Wells (“The Time Machine,” “The Island of Doctor Moreau,” “The Invisible Man,” “The War of the Worlds”) (d. 1946)

1931 – Actor Larry Hagman, best known for his role as villainous Texas oil tycoon J.R. Ewing in CBS’ hit series “Dallas” (d. 2012)

1934 – Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, known for his poetic lyrics, iconic songs and baritone voice (d. 2016)

1943 – Producer Jerry Bruckheimer (“Beverly Hills Cop,” “Flashdance,” “Top Gun,” “The Rock,” “Con Air,” “Armageddon,” “Black Hawk Down,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “National Treasure”) 

1947 – Award-winning horror, science fiction, and suspense novelist Stephen King (“Carrie,” “The Shining,” “The Stand,” “Misery,” “The Dark Tower”)

1950 – Emmy-winning actor-comedian Bill Murray (“Saturday Night Live,” “Caddyshack,” “Stripes,” “Ghostbusters,” “Groundhog Day,” “Rushmore,” “The Royal Tenenbaums,” “Lost in Translation,” “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” “Hyde Park on Hudson,” “St. Vincent”)

1957 – Writer-producer Ethan Coen of the Coen Brothers (“Raising Arizona,” “The Hudsucker Proxy,” “Fargo, “The Big Lebowski,” “O Brother, Where Art Thou?,” “No Country for Old Men,” “Hail, Caesar!”)

1967 – Grammy-winning country music singer Faith Hill (“Wild One,” “Piece of My Heart,” “This Kiss,” “Just to Hear You Say That You Love Me”)

1968 – Actress and talk show host Ricki Lake (“Hairspray,” “Ricki Lake”)

1971 – Actor Luke Wilson (“Idiocracy,” “Old School,” “Bottle Rocket,” “The Royal Tenenbaums,” “Blue Streak,” “Bongwater,” “Legally Blonde”)

On This Day September 7

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1813 – The United States gets its nickname, “Uncle Sam.” The name is linked to Samuel Wilson, a meat packer from Troy, New York, who supplied barrels of beef to the U.S. Army during the War of 1812. Wilson stamped the barrels with “U.S.” for United States, but soldiers began referring to their rations as “Uncle Sam’s.”

1965 – Hurricane Betsy churns across extreme southern Florida en route to Louisiana where it kills 76 people and triggers widespread flooding. She’s the first hurricane to cause more than a billion dollars in damage, earning the nickname “Billion-Dollar Betsy.” 

1968 – Fifty women led by the New York Radical Women feminist group stages the first protest against the Miss America pageant. 

1977 – President Jimmy Carter signs a treaty granting Panama control over the Panama Canal beginning in the year 2000. The treaty ends an agreement signed in 1904 between then-President Theodore Roosevelt and Panama, which gave the U.S. the right to build the canal and a renewable lease to control five miles of land along either side of it.

1979 – The sports network ESPN debuts on cable TV. 

1980 – The 33rd annual Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony takes place, with statues going to the producers of “Taxi” and “Lou Grant” and performers Ed Asner and Barbara Bel Geddes — Asner for his starring role as newspaper editor Lou Grant, and Bel Geddes for her role as Miss Ellie, the Ewing family matriarch in the prime time soap “Dallas.” 

1986 – Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu becomes the first black man to lead the Anglican Church in South Africa. 

Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1936 – Rock ‘n’ roll legend Buddy Holly is born Charles Hardin Holley in Lubbock, Texas. He produces a string of hits before his death at age 22 in a 1959 plane crash that also claims the lives of musical greats Ritchie Valens and “The Big Bopper” (J.P. Richardson).

1968 – The Rascals claim the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 with “People Got to Be Free.

1974 – “(You’re) Having My Baby,” by Paul Anka and Odia Coates, wraps up three weeks on top of the singles chart.

1978 – Acclaimed drummer Keith Moon of the British rock band The Who dies of a drug overdose at the age of 32. 

1985 – The theme from the movie “St. Elmo’s Fire” (“Man In Motion”), by John Parr, is the No. 1 single. 

1994 – With TV host David Letterman as her escort, Madonna hands Aerosmith the Best Video award for “Cryin’” during the MTV Video Music Awards at New York’s Radio City Music Hall.

2001 – Michael Jackson is reunited onstage with the Jackson Five at his 30th Anniversary Celebration in New York City’s Madison Square Garden.

2002 – “Dilemma,” by Nelly featuring Kelly Rowland, rules the Billboard Hot 100.

2003 – Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Warren Zevon (“Werewolves of London,” “Lawyers, Guns and Money”) dies of lung cancer at the age of 56. Ironically, Zevon earned the Grammys posthumously for his final album, “The Wind,” which was released just two weeks before his death.

2013 – “Blurred Lines,” by Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell, enters its 12th and final week as a Billboard chart-topper.

On This Day September 3

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History Highlights
History Highlights

On this Day August 27

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1883 – The most powerful volcanic eruption in recorded history jolts Krakatoa (also known as Krakatau), a small, uninhabited volcanic island located west of Sumatra in Indonesia. The resulting explosions and tsunamis kill an estimated 36,000 people.

1953 – “Roman Holiday,” featuring Audrey Hepburn in her first starring movie role, premieres in New York City.

1955 – The first edition of “The Guinness Book of Records” is published in England as a resource for pub patrons to settle friendly disputes. By that Christmas, it becomes a British best-seller. Today, it is the leading international authority for certifying every conceivable world record, from longest mustache to most tattooed woman, and everything in between.

1962 – NASA launches the Mariner 2 space probe on a mission to fly by Venus and return data on the planet’s atmosphere, magnetic field, charged particle environment and mass.

1964 – Gracie Allen, who kept radio and TV audiences laughing for decades with comedy partner and husband George Burns, dies at age 69.

1966 – Sixty-five-year-old Francis Chichester sets sail from Plymouth, England aboard his yacht, Gipsy Moth IV, on the first solo around-the-world trip by sea. He completes the voyage nine months and one day later with only a single stop in Sydney, Australia, and is knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

1984 – President Ronald Reagan announces the Teacher in Space Project to inspire students, honor teachers and spur interest in mathematics, science and space exploration. New Hampshire social studies teacher Christa McAuliffe is eventually selected out of 11,000 applicants to be the first teacher in space. Sadly, she is killed along with all her fellow crew members in the January 1986 explosion of the space shuttle Challenger 73 seconds after liftoff.

On this Day August 1

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On this Day May 11

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Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1959 – The instrumental “The Happy Organ,” by organist-pianist Dave ‘Baby’ Cortez, is the No. 1 single for a week and becomes a fixture at roller skating rinks across the U.S. Cortez makes one more trip to the Top-10 during his career with “Rinky Dink” in 1962.

1963 – Little Peggy March wraps up three weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 with “I Will Follow Him.”

1970 – The three-disk soundtrack to the Woodstock Festival is released and goes gold within two weeks.

1972 – John Lennon makes a guest appearance on “The Dick Cavett Show” and claims the FBI is tapping his phone.

1981 – Jamaican singer-songwriter and guitarist Bob Marley, who introduced international audiences to reggae music, dies of cancer at the age of 36. Marley is posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, and in 2001, receives a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

1985 – Madonna has the No. 1 single with “Crazy for You,” from the soundtrack to the movie “Vision Quest,” starring Matthew Modine and Linda Fiorentino. The track garners Madonna her first Grammy nomination in the Best Female Pop Vocal Performance category.

1991 – “Joyride,” by Swedish pop duo Roxette, is the No. 1 single for a week.

1996 – Mariah Carey begins her second and final week on top of the Billboard Hot 100 with “Always Be My Baby.”

2002 – Ashanti maintains her hold on the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Foolish.” The track remains a chart-topper for 10 weeks.

On this Day May 5

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1862 – During the Battle of Puebla, Mexican troops under General Ignacio Zaragoza — outnumbered three to one — defeat invading French forces. The historic event is marked each year with Cinco de Mayo celebrations.

1925 – Teacher John Scopes is arrested for violating the Butler Act, which prevents the teaching of evolution in Tennessee schools. He is later tried in the famous Scopes Monkey Trial.

1945 – One woman and five children are killed in rural Oregon while attempting to drag a Japanese balloon out the woods. The balloon was armed and exploded after the group began tampering with it. They were the first and only known American civilians killed in the continental U.S. during World War II.

1955 – The Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) becomes a sovereign state when the U.S., France and Great Britain end their 10-year military occupation. The move clears the way for West Germany to rearm and become a full-fledged member of the western alliance against the Soviet Union.

1961 – Astronaut Alan Shepard becomes the first American to travel into outer space during a suborbital flight of 15 minutes aboard the Mercury capsule named Freedom 7.

1985 – President Ronald Reagan angers Jewish leaders and Holocaust survivors by visiting the Bitburg war cemetery in Germany, unaware that the cemetery houses the graves of 49 Nazi officers.

2002 – “Spider-Man” becomes first movie to top $100 million in an opening weekend. Directed by Sam Raimi and starring Tobey Maguire in the title role, the eagerly awaited comic book adaptation rakes in a staggering $114.8 million.